Remember when an exodus of players took place from San Sebastian College-Recoletos a few months prior to the start of NCAA Season 94?
Back in 2018, almost half of the Golden Stags crew that saw action in the previous season decided to leave Recto to take their act somewhere else.
Allyn Bulanadi still remembers those dark times for the program. And he admitted he nearly became part of that mass exit.
“Alam niyo yung naghiwa-hiwalay na? … Dapat kasama ako doon,” he recalled in Tiebreaker Vodcasts’ The Prospects Pod, presented by SMART and supported by Chris Sports.
Among those who left Recto were Renzo Navarro and Jerwyn Guinto, and they took their talents to the Lyceum of the Philippines University.
Lyceum, at that time, was emerging as one of the country’s best college basketball programs following a runner-up finish in Season 93.
And according to Bulanadi, he seriously considered heading to Intramuros and becoming a Pirate, just like the aforementioned two.
LPU, since 2015, has been handled by coach Topex Robinson, who also served as the chief mentor of the Stags before resigning in 2014.
And it was Robinson who discovered Bulanadi in the Palarong Pambansa 2014 in Laguna, when the latter was representing Davao.
So there was the lure of being reunited by the coach who had recruited him to San Sebastian, and helped pave the way to be who he is today.
“Nagkayayaan kami nun. Lipat na ba raw ako o hindi,” recalled Bulanadi, as his peers were trying to bring him to Lyceum.
“Eh sabi ko, pag-isipan ko muna. Eh nagulat ako kinabukasan lumipat na agad sila,” the lanky forward added with a grin,
That didn’t push through, though. Bulanadi decided he would remain a Golden Stag. “Hindi rin, kasi nakausap ako ng pari ng Baste,” he said.
“Ta’s kinausap din ako ng tatay ko na ‘wag na raw ako lumipat, maga-adjust na naman daw ako. Muntikan lang.”
Bulanadi has no regrets about his decision to stay put, since he’s happy with how everything turned out for him in San Sebastian.
“Hindi siyempre. Grabe ‘yung experience. Tsaka ‘yung naitulong ng Baste sa akin noon, sobra,” said the 23-year-old.
One of the best scorers the NCAA has seen, Bulanadi helped the Golden Stags reach the Final Four several times.
The first was in Season 93, his third year in the league and the second year of coach Egay Macaraya at the helm of San Sebastian.
They missed out on a Final Four trip in the following season, but they bounced back in Season 95.
Then in Bulanadi’s fifth and final year, he upped the ante, eventually landing a spot on the Mythical Team.
“Pagdating ni coach Egay kasi nung pangalawang taon niya sa Baste, nag-Final Four agad kami. E ilang taon din kaming hindi nakapasok ng Final Four.
“After noon ‘yung hiwa-hiwalay na. And then ito lang nung nakaraan, ‘yun lang hanggang Final Four nga lang,” recalled Bulanadi of those times.
Now, all because of the work he put in for Baste, he’s part of the Gilas Pilipinas pool geared for the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
No regrets, indeed.